In a courtroom, a witness is not allowed to speak unless he or she demonstrates a reasonable familiarity with the topic at hand. If witnesses start spouting off without knowing what they are talking about, a lawyer may object, “Improper foundation!” and the judge should sustain the objection.
That seems to be what Bill Maher is getting at in a recent post at Huffpo. Here’s an excerpt:
And before I go about demonstrating how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness dragging down our country, let me just say that ignorance has life and death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, 69% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Four years later, 34% still did. Or take the health care debate we’re presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and “listen to their constituents.” An urge they should resist because their constituents don’t know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways. I’m the bad guy for saying it’s a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War.
Many of us are totally in the dark. Many of us want to be informed, but how can you be, given the 1,000 page bills couched in obscure language crafted in backroom deals with the corporate interests who are really running the process through obscenely large campaign contributions?